Chestnut gobbles his way to the 15th win at Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July hot dog eating contest, powering down 63 hot dogs and buns at the annual exhibition of excess in New York.

Competitive eater Joey Chestnut poses for photos with 76 hot dogs at a weigh-in before the Nathan's Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest.
Competitive eater Joey Chestnut poses for photos with 76 hot dogs at a weigh-in before the Nathan's Famous July Fourth hot dog eating contest. (AP)

A man with the playful name Joey Chestnut has wolfed down 63 hot dogs in 10 minutes to win the annual July 4 competitive eating contest featuring America's quintessential cookout food on Coney Island in New York.

Chestnut has now won 15 times but on Monday he fell way short of the record he set in 2020 when he downed 76 hotdogs, buns included, also in just 10 minutes.

So he apologised to the crowd and said he would do better next year.

Chestnut told the AFP news agency he trains by eating hot dogs often and taking part in eating contests featuring them about once a week.

After Monday's virtuoso performance, he said he will not touch food again for a day.

A spectator wearing a Darth Vader mask rushed the stage, momentarily disrupting the competition. Chestnut put the protester in a brief chokehold before contest officials hurried over and escorted the intruder away.

Another protester in a white stormtrooper mask had also snuck behind the competitors and hoisted a sign saying, "Expose Smithfield’s Deathstar." Smithfield manufactures Nathan’s famous hotdogs.

After the altercation, Chestnut went back to the task at hand: Devouring more hot dogs.

Defying laws of physics

Chestnut was the undisputed winner of the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest, finishing far ahead of the field.

Second place went to one Geoffrey Esper with 47.5 franks and buns, and third to James Webb at 41.

"Joey Chestnut is a force from beyond who defies the laws of physics," said contest host George Shea.

In the women's category, Miki Sudo triumphed with 40 hot dogs in 10 minutes.

Sudo returned after sitting out last year because she was pregnant. This time she showed off her new baby. She fell short of her record of 48 franks.

Competitors from all over America and as far away as Australia tend to dunk their hotdogs in water or soda to make them easier to swallow in such rapid succession without gagging.

"The Nathan's Famous Fourth of July Hot Dog Eating Contest is arguably the most iconic sporting event in American history," Shea said.

"The event is a crucible through which greatness is forged."

Source: AFP